After Catherine of Siena dragged Pope Gregory back to Roma, dissension set in immediately between the English, French, and Spanish factions who controlled the Papacy.

Pope Urban VI (13181389).
Pope from 1378 to 1389.


Soon after Pope Gregory XI reluctantly returned the Papacy to Roma, he was sent to St. Peter.

Gregory was followed by Urban VI, but he had a rival at Avignon named Clement VII.

That was the beginning of what is called "The Great Western Schism," and it never really ended!


Avignon Pope Clement VII (13421394). Avignon Pope from 1378 to 1394.

With 2 Popes anathematizing each other, it was an "open door" for the Christians in Britannia to preach the true Gospel, and expose the 7,000 deadly sins of the Latin clergy. Foremost among the Reformers was Saint John Wycliffe—a professor at Oxford University.

Saint John Wycliffe (1328 -1384).
Saint John Wycliffe

Saint John Wycliffe–the Morning Star of the Reformation–was a professor at Oxford University.

While at the university he discovered a copy of the Old Latin Version.

For translating the Bible from the Old Latin Version, and exposing the filthy habits of the monks and nuns, Saint John's bones were dug up and burned 44 years after his death!!

Burning the bones of Saint John Wycliffe.
Babylonians burning the bones
of Saint John Wycliffe.

His translation caused a sensation in England and it looked like the break with the Papacy was imminent. Wycliffe had a Judas assistant named John Purvey (1354–1414). Purvey poisoned the Saint and after his death he edited his translation to conform to Jerome's perversion. Wycliffe was the last person to correctly translate the Bible. Most of the corrupt readings of the modern Bibles conform to Jerome's version (St. John 7:8).

After his death, the monks left no stone unturned in their search for copies of Wycliffe's English translation. Any copies found were promptly burned (with the owners)! At that time England was also experiencing a titanic struggle for supremacy between English and French. Wycliffe's translation tipped the scales in favor of English, so he can rightly o be called the "Father of the English Language."

Pope Boniface IX (1350–1404).
Pope from Nov. 1389 to 1404.

While Boniface "good luck" reigned at Roma, he had a bitter rival at Avignon named Pedro de Lunatic.

On October 11, 1394, Pedro de Lunatic was crowned as Pope Benedict XIII.

He was not even ordained as a priest at that time but that didn't matter because he was a Muslim.



Avignon Pope Benedict XIII
Pope from 1394 to 1423.

At that late date, Pedro was still determined to fulfill the "prophecy" of Joachim of Fiore. Pedro was a canon lawyer by profession and not even a priest. He quickly found a cardinal to ordain him a priest, and bishop, after he became Pope.

Pope Benedict XIII was recognized as the legitimate Pope by the following countries: France, Scotland, Castile, Aragon, Navarre and Portugal. His predecessor, Pope Clement VII, had just met a timely death, so Pedro promised to resign immediately after his crowning . . . if his counterpart Pope Boniface IX, also resigned.

King Charles VI (1368
King from 1380 to 1422.

To end the Great Western Schism, Pope Benedict XIII promised to resign right away if Pope Boniface IX also resigned.

He had no intention of ever resigning under any circumstances, so in 1398, King Charles VI sent an army to force him out.

Holed up in the massive fortress, and assisted by the Knights Templar, the stubborn 70-year-old Spaniard withstood a brutal and bloody 4.5 year siege.

The massive Palace withstood
a 4.5 year siege.

Pope Boniface IX was sent to St. Peter in 1404, and he was succeeded by Pope Innocent VII.

Pope "Innocent" VII.
Pope from 1404 to 1406.

Pope Innocent VII was the next Pope after the timely death of Pope Boniface IX.

His election did not cause Pope Benedict to resign, in fact, he was more determined than ever to remain pontiff.

It was a time of deadly rivalry between the nations of Europe over the identity of the "true successor" of St. Peter!!


Pope Benedict's coat of arms with
the Muslim crescent moon.

Normally the French supported any of the Avignon Popes, but since Pedro was a Spaniard, their attitude toward him changed completely. The king sent one of his top generals, Marshal Boucicault, who boasted that within days he would be bringing Benedict back to Paris in chains. The siege began on September 22, 1398:

Boucicault led his troops into Avignon on September 22, 1398, and took over the city, replacing Cardinal Jean de Neufchâtel and proving to the citizens that they had not bought peace by turning coats. His men seized the house of Cardinal Pérez, one of Benedict's loyal five. (Gail, The Three Popes, p. 129).

The garrison of the Vicar of the "Prince of Peace," augmented by his Spanish Knights Templar, made a ferocious defense of the Palace. By the middle of November, Marshall Boucicault was relieved of his command and replaced with Georges de Marle, Seneschal of Provence. He had no better success that his predecessor.

Pope Gregory XII (1326–1417.
Pope from 1406 to 1415.

Gregory was chosen by a conclave of only 15 cardinals, under the express condition that, should Avignon Pope Benedict XIII resign, he would also resign.

Dominican friar and Inquisitor Vincent Ferrer was one of the main supporters of Pope Benedict XIII.

He is the "patron saint" of chopped-up babies, and he was featured on the cover of a Beatles album.


Dominican friar Vincent Ferrer

At the same time as the 2 pontiffs competed at Roma and Avignon, a third Papacy was established at the Italian city of Pisa (home of the famous leaning tower). The duo are called the Pisans Popes.

Pisan Pope Alexander V.
Pope from 1409 to 1410.

From 1409 to 1415, there were 3 pontiffs, all claiming to be the true "Holy Father" and excommunicating their rivals.

Peter Candia took the name Alexander V when he was crowned at Pisa on June 26, 1409.

Baldassarre Cossa took the name John XXIII when he was crowned at Pisa on May 25, 1410.


Pisan Pope John XXIII (13701419). Pope from 1410 to 1415.

With 3 pontiffs competing bitterly for the "Chair of St. Peter," it was a golden opportunity for the Terrible Turks, who were already pressing on the Eastern frontiers of Western Europe.

Pope Martin V (1369–1431).
Pope from 1417 to 1431.

The Great Western Schism did not come to an end with Pope Martin V because a successor to Pope Benedict XIII was elected at Peñiscola.

His name was Gil Sánchez and he took the name Clement VIII.

In Spain, only descendants of Pope Benedict XIII were considered legitimate pontiffs.


Pope Clement VIII.
Pope from 1423 to 1429.

From that time onward the Spanish hierarchy never accepted the Popes at Roma as the legitimate successors of St. Peter.

The Lunatic dynasty was continued by the Jesuits!

It is quite possible that the Borgias and Ignatius Loyola were descendants of Pope Benedict XIII. The papal dynasty has always elected "nephews." which is a euphemism for "son."

Ignatius Loyola (1491–1556).
Black Pope from 1541 to 1556.

The co-founders of the Jesuits were 2 Spaniards named Francis Borgia and Ignatius Loyola.

Up to that time, only the White Pope was elected for life. Not even the heads of the Dominicans and Franciscans claimed life tenure.

Most of the Jesuit generals have been Spaniards and possibly descendants of Benedict.


Francis Borgia (15101572).
Jesuit general from 1565 to 1572

By creating a shadow or parallel Papacy, the Spanish cardinals were able to perpetuate the dynasty started by Benedict XIII in 1394.

Since the official founding of the Jesuits by Pope Paul III in 1540, there has been a total of 47 White Popes.

Since the official founding of the Jesuits in 1540, there has been a total of 31 Black Popes.

Vital links



Gail, Marzieh. The Three Popes: An Account of the Great Western Schism When Rival Popes Vied for Power. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1960.

Mollat. G. The Popes At Avignon: the Babylonian Captivity of the Medieval Church. Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1965.

Mullins, Edwin. The Popes Of Avignon: A Century in Exile. Signal Books Limited, Oxford, England.

Back to Main Menu